The Town of Ladysmith is cracking down on its smokers and is requesting that Lake Cowichan do the same. In fact, Ladysmith mayor, Rob Hutchins, would like to see consistent smoking regulations throughout the Cowichan Valley.
The proposal actually stems from the medical health officers of Vancouver Island and is a way to reinforce smoking laws already in place in B.C. Ladysmith adopted its own resolution to prepare a No smoking-Clean Air Bylaw on March 4. The bylaw will enforce existing BC no-smoking laws including no-smoking in public spaces, outdoor patios and transit stops, prohibiting the sale of tobacco to those under 19-years-old, and prohibiting smoking in vehicles with passengers under 16-years-old.
The one change Ladysmith has adopted, and which the town is encouraging Lake Cowichan to follow, is to expand the three metre rule from town-owned building doorways, windows, and air intakes, to seven metres.
The list of places to ban smoking, as recommended by the medical health officers, is quite long. It includes; “ban smoking in public spaces, beaches, parks, sports fields, athletic facility stands, public/private school grounds and outdoor municipal facilities, outdoor patios, transit stops, and where individuals are required to queue for the receipt of any service.”
“I’ve also had some questions with that lately,” says Mayor Ross Forrest. “The Cowichan Lake Recreation Commission is going with a no-smoking policy in compliance with what the rest of the CVRD is doing with some of their recreational buildings. I think they’re looking at this possibly for Parks as well. So I think they were wondering what they town’s feelings are with the no smoking policy. It’s something that maybe at some point we should have some discussion on.”
At this point in time, mayor and council still have more questions they feel need to be asked around implementing a town no-smoking bylaw, than they do answers.
“I’m aware of one event that went to the arena and was told that the non-smoking bylaw would be in effect May 1,” says Coun. Bob Day. “And they refused their booking and moved it somewhere else.”
Though he acknowledges that this may have been an off-the-cuff reaction from event coordinators, Day wonders how such a bylaw will affect future events and tournaments in the area.
Other questions that were raised were: how much affect does the CVRD have over town bylaws, who will enforce a town no-smoking bylaw (RCMP, town bylaw enforcement officer, CVRD employees), and the consequences for not developing a bylaw if the rest of the Cowichan Valley does?
“I think this is something that we should be sitting down with the regional district with,” says Forrest. “And get some type of policy that is uniform for all of the governing bodies of the Cowichan Valley.”
Further discussion on this issue will take place at the next Finance and Administration meeting. For more information on provincial no-smoking laws, visit the Health Canada website: hc-sc.gc.ca.